1 in 4

Did you know that 1 in 4 women struggle with infertility? Although I am a mother of three, I am part of that statistic and so are many women that I know personally and have had the opportunity to photograph along their journeys. Everyone's story to becoming a mother is unique and special. Some women keep all of the heartache, troubles, and tears to themselves, while others choose to share and let their voices be heard. As a photographer, I am ready to capture all of those emotions and create lasting images that will portray what you are going through.

Pregnant mom of twins forming a heart on her belly

A good friend of mine shared her long, emotional journey to becoming a mom with me and I was so happy to plan a maternity session while she was pregnant with her twins. I aimed to let her love shine through and make her feel like the bad-ass woman that she truly is. Although Steph is now a loving mother of 4, her road to conceiving her tiny miracles was not easy. She had heartache, troubles, tears and losses along the way, not to mention the numerous amount of needles, medications and seemingly unending doctors appointments that she went through. After her maternity shoot. I had an idea to create an original piece honoring her family and their road to having children. I asked her to share her story and all of the heartache and smiles and then I got to work to create an IVF (in vitro fertilization) awareness project depicting her journey.

Pregnant mom of twins wearing flowing blue dress holding hand in a heart on her belly, outdoors
pregnant mom of twins cradling her belly wearing a flowing blue dress, outdoors

Steph's journey started years ago with that first positive pregnancy test. She was so excited to share this world with a little baby, but heartbreak set in and she miscarried. To say she was sad, would be an understatement, but that did not make her give up. Her and her husband set out to try again, but unfortunately, she suffered two more miscarriages. The desire to be parents was strong, so they tried again, and with the help of doctors and medication, they welcomed their first little boy into the world. A couple of years after their son was born, they decided they would like to have more children and again, with the help of doctors and medication, they were able to welcome their first little girl into the world. Things were great. The kids were thriving, life was good, so Steph and her husband decided to try for another little one to join their family. People often say after you get pregnant once, it is so easy the next time, but for Steph, and many others, that was not the case. They turned to doctors once again and went the route of IUI (intrauterine insemination) with the hopes of conceiving. Heartbreak set in once again, and Steph suffered three more miscarriages. She was not ready to give up hope on adding to her family just yet and knew her rainbow baby would come. She began working with Dr. Allison Bloom at Main Line Fertility and through Dr. Bloom's expertise and unending support, on Steph's third round of IVF (in vitro fertilization) she was blessed with her miracles.

If you know anything about IVF, then you know there are countless amounts or medicines, injections, and doctors appointments that accompany it. Steph agreed to let me share her journey of ups and downs and create an original work of art using her IVF supplies. I knew I needed to represent the 6 babies she lost too soon along her journey to giving birth to her 4 beautiful babies. I researched, I sketched, I created, I doubted myself, and recreated, and finally came up with an image to portray her journey.

IVF awareness image telling the story of a woman's struggle to have children

The above picture shows the struggles of pregnancy represented with needles, medications, hope, love and tears. The sky starting out dark, represents the darkest days of heartache and sadness with steady rain falling down to represent the tears shed through each loss. Three tiny sprouts emerge, but never fully grow to honor her first three miscarriages suffered, followed by two bountiful pineapples representing their two oldest children with three additional sprouts honoring the subsequent miscarriages she faced. The rain starts to fade and the sun emerges to reveal a beautiful blue sky with a rainbow of hope with the twins being born. The words (taken from Steph's tattoo) "I still carry you" written in the soil hold all of the babies together in her heart.

I want to thank Steph for trusting me with her journey and allowing me to tell her story. I look forward to watching your children grow and flourish.